Group Seeks to Remind Obama of VA Scandal Ahead of Phoenix Trip

Concerned Veterans for America says Obama has been largely “MIA” in the push to fix the agency.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during his last news conference of the year in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House December 19, 2014 in Washington, DC.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during his last news conference of the year in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House December 19, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Look for the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals scandal to resurface when President Barack Obama visits Phoenix later this week.

Obama, who is also traveling to Michigan and Tennessee this week to promote domestic policy proposals ahead of his State of the Union address, will speak Thursday at a high school in Phoenix about recovery in the housing sector and is expected to announce new aid for homeowners.

His visit comes as the conservative group Concerned Veterans for America says Obama has been largely “MIA” in the push to fix the agency after a scandal last year over waiting lists for care.

Pete Hegseth, chief executive officer of the group, said in a statement that the Phoenix VA hospital was “ground zero” in the scandal, adding, “If President Obama wanted to get the ground truth—and send a signal of strong leadership—he would take the time to visit the Phoenix VA hospital during his forthcoming trip to that neighborhood.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday said the president is not scheduled to visit the VA hospital while in town, while praising "substantial" reforms that have been made there. Obama in August signed a $16.3 billion bill to improve VA care by hiring more doctors and nurses and expanding facilities and access to outside care.

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